I raised Google tax issue, says PM

Google TaxDavid Cameron insists he had raised the question of Google's UK tax arrangements with the company's boss at talks in Downing Street earlier this week.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, addressing Google's own "Big Tent" event near Watford on Wednesday morning, suggested the matter had not been brought up with Google chief executive Eric Schmidt at a gathering of a business advisory panel at Number 10.

Referring to Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband said: "He's not putting concrete proposals forward on transparency, on transfer pricing, on tax havens, on tax avoidance rules. I think he did the wrong thing when he didn't talk to Eric Schmidt about this on Monday."

But, at a press event on Wednesday afternoon to herald a "breakthrough" in EU efforts to crack down on "aggressive" tax avoidance ahead of a G8 meeting on the subject, the Prime Minister said: "I raised the issue very directly as he (Mr Schmidt) is on my business advisory panel, and we discussed the G8 agenda, the tax multinationals are paying and I made sure there were proper contributions from people around the table, including him, on that issue.

"Aside from talking about it, what is much more important is taking action. What putting this at the front of the G8 agenda has achieved is a proper agreement, here in the EU to start with, that all countries should exchange tax information, that all countries should act on beneficial ownership, so we know who owns what.

"I think this is a big step forward."

Answering another question on the Google situation, Mr Cameron explained: "We had a meeting of my business advisory council, three of four items on the agenda. One of the items was my G8 agenda which includes transparency on tax, international action over tax.

"I explained my G8 agenda, how important I think it is, I explained I think it is important to tackle not just tax evasion but aggressive tax avoidance.

"I asked Eric Schmidt to comment on that and he did in the meeting.

"I don't think we're going to solve this if we simply take one company or another company that is registered in Europe, this one in Ireland. We are going to solve this, we are going to have proper concrete action."

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